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Published: Thursday, 10/29/2009

Manager sat on school board in Port Clinton

PORT CLINTON - Robert Clinton Johnston, a retired plant manager who spent 10 years on the Port Clinton City School District Board of Education, died of cancer Sunday in his Catawba Island home. He was 76.

Mr. Johnston was a plant manager for Aim Packaging, which later was acquired by Silgon Plastics Corp., retiring in 1999. He and his family had moved to Port Clinton 20 years earlier from Danville, Ill., where he had been manager of a plant for Anchor Hocking, a maker of glassware.

During the 1980s, at the urging of friends, he ran successfully for the Board of Education and remained there for a decade, his wife, Doris, said.

Mrs. Johnston said service on the school board was a natural extension of her husband's spirit of voluntarism. He participated in school-levy campaigns and coached his son Jeff's baseball and soccer teams.

Mr. Johnston also was an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church, where he served as board and finance chairman and overseer of the building committee.

Mr. Johnston grew up on his family's dairy farm in Bremen, Ohio, the youngest of six siblings. He was raised in the agricultural life but never became a farmer, although as a young man he was a skilled farmhand who helped his father.

After graduating from high school, he married and volunteered for the Army. He was stationed in Vicenza, Italy, as a member of one of the Army's early missile crews. Mrs. Johnston joined him and they lived off base in an apartment, she said. "I spent a good year there. We traveled all over," she explained.

Mr. Johnston was honorably discharged after two years and the couple returned to southeast Ohio. There he took a job in Anchor Hocking's development department in Lancaster. Later on, he transferred to the company's plastics division and they moved to Cincinnati, where he became an assistant plant manager. It was the success of this plant that earned him his promotion and transfer to Danville, Mrs. Johnston said.

Surviving are his wife of 54 years, Doris; daughter, Christine; son, Jeff, and eight grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday in Trinity United Methodist Church, Port Clinton, where the family will receive friends starting an hour earlier.

The family requests tributes to the church, the Port Clinton High School Athletic Boosters, Stein Hospice in Sandusky, or the Catawba Island Fire Department.

Arrangements were handled by the Neidecker, LeVeck & Crosser Funeral Home, Port Clinton.

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